Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Red Poll Girls In Winter

Despite all my whining and complaining about this rugged winter, the Red Poll girls have not seemed to mind it very much:

In fact, they've chosen to sleep outdoors on spilled hay most nights. This, by the way, is Rosella, born August 1st. She's no longer little but is still nursing as well as eating hay and grain. It's no wonder she's grown so fast. By the way, you can see the milk on her muzzle in this photo:

The cows are eating more hay now and I have to put out a new, 1000 pound bale every 1 to 4 days:

Some hay bales are frozen solid so I don't put the bale feeder around them. This allows the cattle to pick them apart from all angles. That silver ring in the background is the bale feeder on its side:

But they still like their bedding hay more than their feed hay. To combat that, I began hauling feed hay in from outside and spreading it on the barn floor:

Rosella looks rather petite in this photo, but she is not. The picture is deceiving. She has, however, begun to let me pet her and rub her ears and neck - but only while she's eating grain. She's decided that it's not so bad to be touched after all:

Their winter coats are not long but apparently get thicker for the cold weather. Their hair looks more brown than red in the winter, but my camera seems to pick up the red anyway:

Except on the most extreme days, I clean the manure out of the barn just before noon. Then I close the door to keep the cows out and spread clean bedding hay on the floor. On the most extremely cold, windy days, I just let them stay indoors:

I've also been giving them extra hay bales during really cold days, and all of it now goes on the east side of the barn for protection from the wind. Most of the wind comes from the west:

I love it when the girls present to me this calm, beatific face and chew their cuds. That tells me they are happy to see me and are feeling safe and healthy:

One problem is that they are not afraid of the tractor. I have to be careful not to hit them with it:

Life is good if you are a pampered Red Poll - except, of course, for the extra cold, windy days and nights:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Around The Farm

As I indicated yesterday, this has been a rugged winter so far:

This small lilac was showing a few, swelling red buds sticking up above the snow. But that, of course, was before it got buried in four feet of snow:

The little hens are indoors and protected from the worst of winter's sting:

But they have noticed the lengthening days and are beginning to lay eggs, which I have to get indoors as soon as possible lest they freeze and burst:

The pigeons have been pairing off and doing a lot of cooing:

It might be a horrible winter outside, but the pigeons, like the chickens, are tuned in to the lengthening days:

This little lady has hatched two squabs and kept them alive for several weeks despite the cold. I haven't interfered in any way (beyond snapping this photo), hoping she'll be able to raise them in spite of the awful cold. So far, she's done just fine:

This is a typical view from upstairs bathroom window. Sometimes it's so white that not much is visible but snow:

The view to the southwest. That flat field was planted in soybeans last year:

The snowbanks alongside the driveway continue to grow and have now reached as high as eight feet - with lots more snowfall predicted. Our only hope now is to survive winter and pray for an early spring:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pets At Home

Our weather has been so very cold, snowy, icy and windy that I let the dogs out only for short periods. I try to do it often, but no dog wants to stay outside for long in the brutal cold. Fergus enjoys his time outside, but quickly wants back in:

Other than having to go outside, they live a lazy, warm, comfy life:

Clover and Daphne get cold much faster than the two dogs with the thick Poodle hair:

And as soon as they're back inside, they huddle together to warm up:

We've had much more snow since this photo was taken - snow, in fact, nearly every day and it's piled up to amazing depths. There are now snowbanks alongside the driveway seven and eight feet high. Yesterday brought us what was called "freezing fog" and everything is now coated with a white matte finish. That's why I let the dogs back in quickly:

Upstairs in my bedroom, Dixie the Guinea Pig stays warm and comfortable on a bed of clean pine shavings:

And Dixie's neighbor, Chirpy the Parakeet, keeps her company:

These fleecy dog beds get tumbled in the dryer every morning. It helps me keep them relatively clean, and a dryer sheet helps them smell better:

Old Snoozey is the only "floor cat" of my five. The other four are climbers and prefer to be up on something. Poor old Snoozey gets less petting as a consequence of not being at eye level. So I try to remember to seek him out for a little attention, which he surely enjoys:

I should amend my comment on the first photo to say that gigantic Seamus, with his sheep-like wool, seems almost immune to the cold. Unlike the other dogs, he'd stay outside in the coldest of weather: